Corrective eyewear, both a blessing and a curse

“They said eating carrots would be good for my eyes. They lied.” 

—Reflecting on advice from “Every Mom’s Official Training Guide.”

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I despised carrots as a kid. But they were like spinach, broccoli, hominy corn, and other forms of equally hated healthy stuff. If mom put it on my plate, I had to eat it all before leaving the table because “it was good for me.”.

Perusing old issues of The Light and Champion last week, I stumbled onto a column I penned more than 40 years ago. It reminded me of the familiar saying about how the more things change, the more they stay the same. In that missive, I was groaning about glasses. Calling corrective eyewear both a blessing and a curse, I referred to them as a sentence placed on me during my school years.

“Since my nose was unadorned (with glasses) at that point in life, I quickly realized that next year’s family portrait would hold some marked changes in appearance,” I wrote. “For the next few years of high school and college, vanity dictated relegating spectacles to spending more time hanging out of my pocket than hanging on my face.”

Because of these youthful habits, my optometrist at the time said I was not used to glasses as part of my identity. He also threw in something about it being part of why I couldn’t see his eye chart. It occurred to me that it might also have been why my grades didn’t “look” any better than I did.

According to the column, “My trusty eye doctor made a drastic update, hoping to improve my outlook on life. ‘I’m changing your prescription this time; I’m making it quite a bit stronger. It might take a while for you to get used to them,’ he added as I ran into the door facing on my way out of his office.”

“Doc,” I pleaded, “I never will get used to wearing specs. I’ve tried all my life and I just can’t do it.”

“Sure you can,” he smiled knowingly. “And you will. You’re getting to the age now that in a few more years, you’ll find you aren’t comfortable without them.” Evidently, I thought that was funny when I wrote it back then. But reading the column again last week, I’m now trying to remember what was so funny about it.

The truth is I still don’t like to wear glasses. In fact, I refuse to wear them all the time. The only time I put my glasses on is … well, when I want to see something. It is also the truth that I am no more used to them at this point in life than I was when first introduced to optical glass in my teens.

Therefore, I will probably live out my days constantly pushing glasses up on my nose and adjusting them because they annoy me. I will likely forever be looking for them because I’m constantly losing them. And it’s a certainty that every shopping list I make will include a variety of eyeglass cleaning products. That’s because of, and despite the fact, they need cleaning every five minutes.

I am glad to report one thing, however. Somewhere along the way, I learned to eat spinach. I will also eat broccoli, although I still refuse to eat hominy corn. I’m sorry, but some things just weren’t meant for human consumption. 

I’ve even learned to eat carrots, but as for them being good for your eyes. I don’t believe it for one minute. 

Otherwise, thanks to my sweet momma, my vision would be 20/20.

—Leon Aldridge

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Aldridge columns are published in these Texas newspapers: The Center Light and Champion, the Mount Pleasant Tribune,  the Rosenberg Fort Bend Herald, the Taylor Press, and the Alpine Avalanche.

© Leon Aldridge and A Story Worth Telling 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Leon Aldridge and A Story Worth Telling with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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